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Heartthrob Heaven


The girls are still crazy about the boys.

Specifically, those TV teen dreams that television keeps delivering right to the family room. In earlier decades, a smile from Paul Petersen or Ricky Nelson could cause a swoon. Then came heavy sighs directed at the Monkees, Bobby Sherman, Lance Kerwin and Shaun Cassidy.

Yesterday's Donny Osmonds, Jason Batemans and Kirk Camerons are today's Joey Lawrences, Jonathan Brandises and Mario Lopezes. And waiting in the wings are plenty of other young hopefuls more than willing to fill their Doc Marten boots, ripped jeans and plaid shirts.

What's the formula? Besides the X factor, certainly a prerequisite of cute, followed by likability, charm and an easy-to-relate-to quality. Being able to carry a tune, appearing on a weekly sitcom and having a persistent publicist who knows the editors at Tiger Beat, 16 and Bop couldn't hurt either.

So, a few "fantasy" fan letters to some of the hottest young hunks on the small screen:


Dear Joey,

We love the way you go, "Whoa!" You were such a cute little kid on "Gimme a Break." We liked those torn jeans you wore, but we're not so sure about the chokers now. We think you're "Blossom's" cutest brother, even if you're not her smartest. What's really cool is we hear you ' re smarter in person.

Age: 18 .

Why He's an Idol: "I don't know. I have very strong ethics."

Letters Per Week: 4,000 to 7,000.

Gifts: Teddy bears to bracelets to rings to ID bracelets. "Some I keep, others I give to charity."

Fans: "They say, 'I love you' and ask for a picture, a hug or a kiss. I don't ever kiss, but I do hug."

What Girls See in Him: "I don't know. I seem like a nice guy."

Security: Always travels with a bodyguard.

Friends: Flies best friend out from Philadelphia once every two months and flies a group to Hawaii twice a year.

"Fatal Attraction" Factor: "People have tried to follow us home, but we have a guard gate."

Immediate Future: Film school at USC in the fall.

How He Dates: "Either I go late at night or I have a private screening set up for me."

Show-Biz Folks: "They're a bunch of hot air, all that meaningless clubbing, or whatever the heck they call it."

Shining Accomplishment: One of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People.

Something Bad Is: "Being a negative mass of sorrow. I try to be upbeat."

Working on: Second album; first was No. 75 on the "Hot 100" chart.

Crowning Glory: All that hair, natch!

Most Likely to: Become John Travolta.


Dear Darius,

We wish "Family Matters" was more about you than about that nerd Urkel! We've liked you since we were in the third grade--now we're in the eighth! You also seem like a really cool older brother.

Age: 18.

A Teen Idol Is: "Someone girls can relate to and looks like their dream guy."

What Girls See in Him: "My sister says they like my body. (He's 6 foot 3.) But I think it's that I'm a nice guy. I'm never rude."

What Trippy Fans Do: "Send letters that say, 'If you're a man and respect your fans, you'll write back; if not, then I guess you're not a man."

Hates Fans Who: "Grab my butt, and I'm, like, 'Excu-use me!' "

Weirdest Gift: Homemade cleanser remedy. "It looked like mud to me."

Biggest Problem: Meeting women.

Heroes: His mom, Chay, and his uncle, Dr. Edward Turner, pastor of Church of the Power of Love in South Central.

Most Prized Possessions: His "couple of nice rides--a white Range Rover with chrome fixtures and a Custom 5-Series BMW."

"Fatal Attraction" Factor: Was told by ABC to stop personally answering fan mail when a persistent male fan began to assume personal responses (written by McCrary and his aunt) indicated a relationship.

Immediate Future: Will co-star with fellow hunk David Lascher ("Blossom") in the NBC movie "Foster's Field Trip."

Proudest of: His upcoming R&B album, "Give It a Little Love."

Dream Role: "To play a really, really bad guy."

Life Dream: "To get married, have a house and have kids."

Most Likely to: Co-star in a spinoff with Urkel.


Dear Jon,

You're so-o-o cute. It's so neat you're on a show that shows how smart you are! But we wouldn't watch "seaQuest DSV" if you weren't on it--it's too serious! We loved you in "Ladybugs." You have a super-cool deep voice, too.

Age: 18.

Letters per week: About 4,000.

Why He's an Idol: "I don't know. It's strange for this to happen."

What Girls See in Him: "I seem like a nice guy and maybe they like my work. But there's always the chance they don't separate the character from the real you."

What Makes a Teen Idol: "The right age, the right projects and the right time. It happens, inadvertently. But being able to sing and being on a sitcom helps."

Most Common Fan Line: "Do you have a girlfriend?" (He doesn't.)

L.A. Fans: "Girls don't care much here. There's much more of a reaction out of state."

Fan Reactions: "You don't know what to do when they break out crying in front of you."

Bizarre Fan Reactions: "One girl wrote me 300 letters and when I finally met her, she was very cool and acted like she didn't care."

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